Motorway 23 – Newcastle
    And Blackbutt Nature Reserve

    The Builders’ Labourers Federation were consistent in their stance against relentless motorway construction (North-West Expressway and Eastern Freeway). In May 1973, focus shifted north of Sydney to Newcastle, when Newcastle City Council gave approval for a motorway which would run through Blackbutt Nature Reserve. The decision was met with much opposition and various civic, conservation and progress associations throughout the region expressed discontent due to the lack of environmental impact studies and the failure to propose alternate routes. In consideration of the intense public opposition to the routing of the expressway. He Builders’ Labourers imposed a ban was imposed on an highway that would run through Blackbutt. (The ban still existed in June 1974.) The opponents argued the case for the location for the expressway is west of Lake Macquarie and Newcastle. The Blackbutt Action Group Case Against Highway 23 Violating Blackbutt Reserve regarded their victory as one of the most important historic Conservation victories in Newcastle. Note that Peter Morris MHR was at the picnic. Peter was the Federal Minister for Transport at the time when it was decided to construct the National Highway to the west of Lake Macquarie making it unnecessary to construct Highway 23 through Blackbutt Reserve.
    Newcastle University Archive, Hunter Living History, Save Blackbutt: The Case Against Highway 23 Violating Blackbutt Reserve.
    Joe Richley, Courtesy of Newcastle Region Library, Newcastle Herald Collection
    Builders Labourers’ Federation’s ‘official list’ compiled by Joe Owens of over 50 Green Bans in 1974. (Note repeats on Joe Owens’ list as Green Ban #54.
    Verity and Meredith Burgmann, Green bans, red union: the saving of a city, 1998.
    Radical Newcastle, Edited by James Bennett, Nancy Cushing & Erik Eklund, New South Publishers, 2015. Also exhibition, Radicals, Renegades and Revolutionaries, part of the ‘RAD Newcastle Exhibition – Newcastle & the Hunter through a radical lens’. The exhibition was held at Newcastle Museum, June-August 2017.
    University of Newcastle, Hunter Living History, PDF: Save Blackbutt: The Case Against State Highway 23 Violating Blackbutt Reserve

    Research by Isabella Maher and Jo Holder


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